George H. Morris “Gladstone Program” Comes to a Close at Hamilton Farm

Lisa Goldman and Aslan jump the wall.

Gladstone, NJ – May 24, 2015 – After almost a week of riding and training with George H. Morris at the Unites States Equestrian Team Foundation’s historic Hamilton Farm, the riders jumped their final course in the big outdoor arena on Sunday, marking the end of the 2015 Gladstone Program.

The day began at 8 a.m. when Sean Leckie, Lisa Goldman, Kilian McGrath and Katie Cox rode into the ring.

Morris instructed the riders to “condense their warm-up,” using the exercises they learned throughout the week to warm up at the walk and trot, saving the canter for the course.

After the horses were flatting with impulsion, riders began schooling back and forth over a small gate, getting ready to jump the full course.

Next, Morris added an oxer on a bending line before the gate, explaining that he wanted the riders to find the deeper distance to the second fence, encouraging the horses to practice adding and round their backs over the jump.

“You either go with the distance, or against it,” Morris said. “And that’s about all there is to say about the distance.”

After Morris was satisfied with the line, he added a rollback to the liverpool, which he instructed riders to ride defensively the first few times through. After that, riders made a tight right turn to the big crossrail, jumping the water five strides later and finishing with a right turn to the skinny fence.

The final course added on an outside single with four strides to a one-strided triple combination, a bending five to an oxer and the liverpool from the opposite direction. Riders ended the day by galloping to a 1.50m stand-alone wall, with only some difficulty from Leckie’s new horse, who refused the fence several times.

“Ambition,” Morris stated. “It’s either in people or it isn’t. That’s the first quality of a good rider. Second is your emotion. What are you like on a bad day? You can’t always say it’s your fault, because sometimes the horse doesn’t have the heart for the job. Next is selection of the horse. Buying horses is very tricky. It’s worse than marriage. It’s easier to get a divorce than get rid of a horse.”

Morris ended by praising all of the riders, making sure Leckie understood that the day’s issues were not his fault.

“Horse training should never go well all the time,” Morris explained. “Stretching. Challenging. That is training.”

Taylor Harris and Kavanaugh IV jump the water
Taylor Harris and Kavanaugh IV jump the water

On that note, Haley Gassel, Sophie Verges, Kate Mulligan and Taylor Harris tacked up and headed to the ring at 10 a.m.

Morris instructed the group to warm up at will, making transitions every 20 seconds and utilizing the lateral and longitudinal exercises he taught during the week.

The second group worked their way up to jumping the same course as the first group, with no trouble galloping up and over the 1.50m wall.

Morris was very proud of the riders in the second group because he does not know them as well, saying they were right up there with the first group, who Morris has worked with in the past.

Morris ended the clinic by facing the audience to share more of his wisdom: “This week was tricky, educational, but doable. You enter a clinic like this; this is serious. People today are not used to difficult questions. In my day, we did puissance every week, mostly 7′, 7’3.” It was very taxing for the horse, but it was an excellent exercise for the high-jumping horse and rider. People these days are so busy, show, show, show, that they have a lot of experience, but no knowledge. You need knowledge and experience.”

USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins commented, “This Gladstone Program was established in 2012 thanks to a gift from Suzanne and BG Porter to the USET Foundation. The Porters understood the value and benefit to our talented young show jumping riders, to be able to spend a week training and learning from George at the iconic Hamilton Farm facility in Gladstone, NJ, where George himself trained and rose through the ranks as a member of the United States Equestrian Team.”

“This program has provided over 40 riders with that same opportunity to help achieve their dream through commitment and hard work to one day also represent the United States in international competition,” concluded Jenkins. “On behalf of the USET Foundation and the riders that have participated in the Gladstone Program, I would like to thank the Porters for making it possible.”

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation ( is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at

The USET Foundation has been awarded Charity Navigators’ highest honor, a Four Star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
USET Foundation
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

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